In a stunning change-up of the electoral landscape, 20,000 people in a Seattle Washington district voted for a socialist candidate for state rep. Many in America hope for the day when the political conversation on the left has the same place at the table it did historically, long before the American policies of political repression.
The Socialist Alternative Party celebrates what they rightly see as a victory, even though they might not have won the house seat, they certainly have put a showing in Seattle that is newsworthy:
Socialist Wins 29% of the Vote in Seattle — Historic Opportunities to Challenge Corporate Politics
|By Philip Locker|
“This is just the beginning!” Kshama Sawant promised supporters and voters on behalf of Socialist Alternative at an excited election night party on November 6 in Seattle, WA. While the presidential race was mainly about what to vote against (see article Right Wing Rejected in the Elections), an inspiring campaign in Seattle’s 43rd district for Washington state house offered working-class voters a real alternative. The ongoing vote count at the time this article was written has Kshama Sawant winning over 29%, pointing toward a final number of over 20,000 votes.
Socialist Alternative ran against Frank Chopp, Speaker of the House and the most influential Democratic legislator in Washington state. Chopp represents the Washington establishment, a well-deserved target for the anger of frustrated, poor, working-class people, and young people in Seattle. The vote for Sawant marks the strongest opposition by far that Speaker Chopp has faced during his entire 18 years in office.This record-breaking vote for an independent working-class candidate has raised the confidence of workers, young people, and activists that it is possible to struggle against looming budget cuts from the “fiscal cliff,” attacks on public sector workers, education, and other social programs.
In Washington state, the Democratic Party won the governor’s race and maintained their majority control over both houses in the state legislature. They will likely propose a further round of vicious budget cuts to social services early next year, while they allow corporations such as Boeing, Amazon, and Microsoft to get away without paying barely any taxes. Sawant, a union activist and teacher, commented, “Public sector unions like mine need to prepare for strike action against budget cuts. Workers and youth need to be ready to occupy the Olympia state capitol building against attacks on our living standards.”
Based on this election breakthrough and the links built during the campaign, Socialist Alternative is using the profile and authority it has won to help to build a fight-back against all attacks on working people and oppressed groups in the coming weeks and months.
Sawant and Socialist Alternative are also forming a broad electoral alliance with other left-wing forces to use this result as a launching pad for a far bigger challenge to the Democratic Party. Concretely, Socialist Alternative is organizing for 2013 a slate of independent left-wing candidates to run for mayor and for all the open city council seats, all of which are currently held by Democrats. “We will go after them!” Sawant declared to huge applause of excited supporters on election night.
Read more here.